The Fellowship of the Ring live at Arena 10-12-2011

The Lord of the Rings In Concert

Hello folks,

I posted on my Facebook page earlier today that this concert was so good I may blow off shows for the rest of the year. We all know that is a filthy lie, but the statement was made to try to get across how exceptional of a concert this was. What a glorious evening of music my friends, played live to the first movie in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring.

LOTR in Concert MapArizona was pretty lucky because there are a mere nine dates on this west coast swing. My understanding is that each of the three films will be shown with a live orchestra and choir to celebrate the tenth anniversary of each film, so that means we will have a chance to see The Two Towers in 2012 and The Return of the King in 2013. My concern is since the concert was so poorly attended (I’m willing to bet the venue was only 1/3 full for the show) that it will not return here next year. This is why I get so pissed when people in the Valley whine when great concert tours pass us by. If people don’t show why would an artist or in this case, artists, waste time coming here? I hope I am wrong when 2012 Two Towers dates are announced.

I saw a live performance of The Two Towers last year at Radio City Music Hall, so I already had an idea of what to expect on this evening. What made this experience even more special was the seating, center section on the floor, row 6, right in the middle of the row! Sweet!

The orchestra and choir await the conductor

Now since I am not familiar with conductors, orchestras, soloists and choirs performing classical music the way I am with bands I had to do some research to get the players correct – I hope. Here are the artists that performed during this spectacular production:

  • Conductor – Ludwig Wicki from Switzerland
  • Female Soloist – Kaitlyn Lusk
  • Munich Symphony
  • Pacific Chorale
  • Phoenix Boys Choir – Yes, our own!

During the intermission I ran into some of the members of the Phoenix Boys Choir and asked them how long they had been preparing for this concert. “A few months” was the response, including approximately a four-hour session the night before the performance and a five-hour practice the day of the concert.

It showed. I marvel when watching a band that is tight perform but in that case we are just talking about a few people. When a full orchestra, two distinct choirs and a soloist perform together, all led by one conductor deliver this stunning of a performance, it allows one to use the term “epic” in the proper context.

Beautiful shot of the orchestra, choir and the movie - perfect timing!

EPIC. I have grown to detest that word. People apply the term to anything and everything with little if any concept of what the word represents. Something needs to be massive, bigger than life, full of unbelievable character and possess the ability to alter the state of being of an individual to deserve that adjective. I chuckle when a band applies that term to itself because you know the band is reaching. However, EPIC is the perfect adjective to describe this performance.

Unless you have witnessed one of these performances it is difficult to describe the event in the right terms. The Fellowship of the Ring was played on a massive movie screen behind the orchestra. I am sure a number of people were there simply to see the movie. It is one of my favorites as well. But the magic of this evening was watching all the players interact with one another during the performance to deliver the score of the film live, perfectly incorporating what they were creating live with the scene the audience was currently viewing.

I have seen the movie many times. Therefore, having a seat so close to the stage allowed me the opportunity to primarily focus on the orchestra, the two choirs, the soloist and the conductor. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my life was not continuing to play in the band after eighth grade. I can humbly say I was good (trumpet) and that experience allowed me to develop an appreciation for classical music at an early age. That experience also causes me to watch individual members of an orchestra closely to discover his or her contribution to the piece being played.

My favorite scene from the movie and favorite piece of the score, "Khazad-Dum".

It did not matter if the music was a cute, fun piece such as “The Shire” at the beginning of the performance or an intense, riveting piece such as “Khazad-Dum” when Gandalf battles the Balrog in one of the signature scenes from the film. Every member of this performance was focused and the hours they had put in before performing live paid huge dividends. This was a rare moment when music delivered live was flawless.

The Pacific Chorale and the Phoenix Boys Choir added superb vocals to the music the orchestra created. Kaitlyn Lusk – good god that voice is amazing! What a beautiful delivery the entire concert with her rendition of “May it Be” at the end of the concert giving me goosebumps.

Absolutely amazing my friends! I hope to see this concert in the Valley of the Sun next year. If not, road trip! Congratulations again to the Phoenix Boys Choir for representing the city and being a part of this tour, great job guys!


The end of the movie, but the score continues



  1. Dave Marsh · October 14, 2011

    Reading your concert review was like watching a baby smile: full of bubbly fun, perfectly innocent yet all-knowing, and imminently engaging. I love it when you have had a life-changing experience like this. It shows in your choice of words, the cadence of your writing, the joy of your expression. I truly felt that I was there with you. A marvelous Musings, Frank. Worthy of a marvelous concert experience.

  2. Pingback: Best Concerts of 2011 | The Musings of Frank Gallardo

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